Wednesday Jul 17

Graney Poetry Andrew Laurence Graney holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. He has published work in Saint Katherine Review, Redheaded Stepchild, Presence, and The American Journal of Poetry, among other publications. He is from Wilmington, DE.

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Headache

Here comes the fog again, and the thoughts
it will take.

I think of medicine, of my upcoming
neurologist appt., of the work I need to do.

I think of a woman on the opposite coast.

Then I think of Kim Basinger, or rather, her
character in 8 Mile, the scene where she breaks

out of a catatonic stupor and yells at her son—
her boyfriend just left her because he saw her

eviction notice—“Who’s gonna want me now?
What am I gonna do?” How could I be more

than a headache when I can hardly keep my head up
past noon? I eat lunch, and any romance

might as well exist in some unreachable
California. When the fog rolls in, that is

the lie I almost believe, as if green

land didn’t connect our coasts, and words
weren’t a way of walking with someone,

as if, talking with her, I couldn’t let go, “Here
comes the fog again.” As if she couldn’t take it.


First Date
            - after Robert Cording

If the aim of dating is to see
and be seen, and if we want to continue
seeing more of each other,
then I have no choice but the choice 
I don’t know how to make, the one

that will odden the evening,
invite you into my sickness,
let this singular struggle become
plural, this pain in my neck
become a pain in yours. I have

relapsing Multiple Sclerosis.
It’s like skid marks on my brain
that can’t be wiped away.
They ruin the clean path,
making it difficult to walk, or impossible

to write my name, but
only sometimes—call it my y
disease, call it too much
for a first date, call it
that which betrays

my trepidation in revealing it to you
has little, really, to do with it,
and more to do with a fear of truly being
seen, unguarded and accepted, call it
my body teaching me to trust.


In the Woods of White Clay

Twenty-six, unemployed, and still living
at my folks’ place, I am quite the catch,

which must be why I feel like the carp
I saw writhing in a blue heron’s mouth as I

got lost in the woods of White Clay Creek
today, questioning the path I chose,

wondering if my life will be more
a succession of May days or maydays.

I recently earned my MFA, which, beyond
teaching me the sonnet, villanelle, and craft

of pulling out my hair on a deadline,
taught me to see the growth that grows

from attending to the world. Twenty-six,
and this is the first spring I’m realizing

spring is constantly springing,
the first time I saw more

than flowers. I saw hyacinths and daffodils,
then azaleas, then rhododendrons.

At some point during all this, the green
rug, pachysandra, burgeoned brief white

blooms. Always be changing, spring seems to say.
But my clothes are comfy, I want to say back.

But of course those buds are right. I’m not
feeling like that ill fated fish for nothing.

I’m acutely aware of loneliness,
and it bites, and I’m grateful

for my reaction, happy that I’m unhappy.


Hand-me-downs

When I was ten, I caught my oldest brother,
my idol, smoking a cigarette.

For years, he’d been hiding from me
that he smoked because, as the youngest,

I received all the hand-me-downs, and he
knew they came in more than clothing.

He thought I was at a friend’s, and here I came
riding my bike, his old bike, around the corner,

no hands, too, just like he taught me. He saw
me see him and stepped on his smoke,

avoiding my eyes. He winced. We both,
I guess, felt we just got clocked. He went inside,

and I just kept on riding, right past home,
the road no longer clear, my head suddenly

in whiteout conditions. Not because he smoked,
it was the shock—this hiding, I felt it

as my hero’s lying to me, or protecting me,
or not trusting me, or his loving me. And all

these feelings could be true at once,
but they felt like fork prongs.

Dark coming on,
I pedaled until the porch light responded.